This morning I took a walk. I just felt like being outdoors and walking and sweating and doing something physical. I intended to hike a trail that I’ve never hiked alone. I was attracted to the experience of doing it alone, or rather not depending on a human guide but a spiritual one. As I started down the road that would lead up to the mountain I saw a walking trail and a lake and pulled over there instead, following my spiritual guide.
I parked and started up the path with lyrics in my head about being quiet and listening in prayer rather than talking. It’s hard for me to turn my thoughts off but I was trying to be very intentional about it.
The park had two lakes and the walking paths encircled one of the lakes. I’ve been reading Randy Alcorn’s “Heaven,” and the portion I’m at is talking about how much heaven will be like the original Eden, how it will be a new Earth, a perfected Earth. As I was walking around this lake I began to soak in creation and all its purposes.
The water was so peaceful with small ripples moving across it when a breeze would blow. I couldn’t help but recall the Scripture “he leads me beside still waters.” Parts of the path were shaded, and as I entered the shaded areas I could feel the coolness of the shade and the wind. I saw dragonflies chasing each other and heard birds and insects humming and chirping. I saw rocks and trees and marveled at what great purposes they serve.
I was compelled to sit on a certain bench where I could hear and see fish in the water and ducks on the bank. The sun was beating down hot on me, as the bench was not one of the ones in the shade. I began to sweat, and sweat ran down my neck and cheek and I marveled again at God’s creation of our bodies and their ability to cool themselves. It was an awesome time of communion with creation and Creator that I didn’t want to end.
I walked back to my car and was reminded of all my “to do’s.” I prayed, “God, I don’t want to call the insurance man or the landscaper or the pharmacy because I don’t want to stop talking with you, I don’t want this fellowship to end. I don’t want to say ‘Amen.'” I’ve felt that way in church before, where the Spirit is so strong and the praise and teaching so enriching that I don’t want it to end. But on earth it ends, because there’s work to be done. But in heaven I bet there’s no “amens,” at least in the sense of closing out a prayer. I imagine that in heaven we’ll finally praise with no end.
“If the present Earth, so diminished by the Curse, is at times so beautiful and wonderful; if our bodies, so diminished by the Curse, are at times overcome with a sense of the earth’s beauty and wonder; then how magnificent will the New Earth be?” — Randy Alcorn, Heaven